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I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War…

I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story

by Michael Hastings

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534221,808 (4.23)4



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Extremely well written. I think what makes this story so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time is that Michael and Andi were both pursuing their dreams and professional goals by working in Baghdad and it is ultimately what cost Andi her life. With Michael losing his life in 2013, there is something even more tragic about this book. Two people who were on the path to change the world, both killed in unbelievable circumstances. ( )
  DarlaAdams | Oct 18, 2015 |
Interesting read about embedded journalists... not such a great love story. I don't doubt that they loved each other, it's just that the author did much better at describing his job rather than the romance, and that was ironic as that seemed to be the basis for most of the couple's immature fights. WHY WAS SHE WITH HIM? ( )
  TeenieLee | Apr 3, 2013 |
Even before he had made waves with "The Runaway General", his article for Rolling Stone about General Stanley McChrystal which led to the supreme U.S. commander in Afghanistan being removed from his post, journalist Michael Hastings had already courted controversy with this memoir. It chronicles his tragic relationship with Andi Parhamovich, a young woman who he met just a few months before he took up an assignment for Newsweek reporting from Iraq. They continued a long distance relationship, with short interludes together whenever Hastings returned to the States for leave. Eventually Andi decided to apply for a job with an U.S. NGO operating in Baghdad in order to both further her own idealistic ambitions to help the people of Iraq, and be closer to her boyfriend. A decision that would eventually have fatal consequences.

Hastings describes both his deepening relationship with Andi, which eventually leads to talk of marriage and shopping expeditions to pick out the right engagement ring, alongside his life as a reporter in a war zone, which particularly after the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samaraa in early 2006 descends into all out civil war. He describes both aspects of his life in vivid detail. The tale is a gripping one even though the end is a forgone conclusion. When the moment arrives, Hastings recounts in shocking detail what happens when Andi goes on a trip in to a hostile area as part of her job and is ambushed by an insurgent group.

Some reviewers have criticised the book as a cynical attempt to cash in on Andi's death. But Hastings writes with a honesty so brutal that one suspects that under the lucid, unadorned prose he is grappling with a deep sense of guilt. Some of the episodes with Andi he describes are ones in which he was impatient, unfair or hurtful and he never tries to offer rationalisations or apologies for these but presents them unadorned and unvarnished for the reader. A reviewer once described his tell-all account of McChrystal and his coterie in Afghanistan as a a burning of the bridge which gave him inside access to the 'story' in the military "with everyone, including him, on it." Here he seems to have turned the harsh spotlight on himself with the same fearlessness.

Insightful, engaging and deeply moving. ( )
1 vote iftyzaidi | Mar 1, 2012 |
Two months before being dispatched to Iraq, reporter Michael Hastings falls in love with Andi Pahramovich, a feisty blonde with a burning passion to make the world a better place. The couple spends a year apart, and then Andi -- perhaps for her own reasons or perhaps just to be with Michael -- takes a job in Baghdad, where she is killed by terrorists. I Lost My Love in Baghdad is Hastings' "last love letter to Andi." The book tells two parallel stories: Hastings' experiences as a reporter in Baghdad and the couple's unsteady long-distance relationship. As many reviewers have pointed out, Hastings writes about war better than he writes about love. He lived in Iraq during Baghdad's most violent period, and his writing exposes intriguing (and distrubing) hidden details of the American occupation. This day-in-the-life of Iraq perspective is not available through standard newspaper articles, and that alone makes the book worth reading. Although Hastings writes about Iraq vividly and strongly, he often falls into cliches when describing his relationship with Andi. Some reviewers have suggested this is because he wants to write a book about Iraq more than he wants to write a book about his relationship, but I never got that impression. Years of dispassionate hard news reporting are probably not ideal preparation for writing a heartfelt autobiographical story, so it's not surprising that his writing occasionally lags. This was a minor glitch though, and one that I barely noticed. Real emotion shines through the cliches, and I left the book feeling that I had read a real, human and raw story. ( )
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Violence and Progress coexist--General George W. Casey
Me and you and you and me no matter how they toss the dice, it had to be -- Happy Together, 1967
In such dangerous things as War, the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst.--Carl von Clauswitz, On War
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At age 25, Michael Hastings arrived in Baghdad to cover the war in Iraq for Newsweek, with a little Hemingway romanticism and all the apparatus of a 21st-century reporter. He describes the chaos, the violence, the threats of bomb and mortar attacks, the front lines that can be anywhere. This is a new kind of war: private security companies follow their own rules or lack thereof; soldiers in combat get instant messages from their girlfriends and families. Back in New York, Hastings had fallen in love with Andi Parhamovich, a young idealist who worked for Air America. A year later, Andi followed Michael to Iraq. Their war-zone romance is another window into life in Baghdad. Then Andi goes on a dangerous mission for her new employer--a meeting that ends in catastrophe. This is both a raw account of the war and a heartbreaking story of one life lost.--From publisher description.… (more)

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